One of Newcastle’s favourite sons, the comedian Bobby Pattinson, has funded a brand new minibus to enable children at a local special needs school to experience exciting educational visits and outdoor sporting activities.

Northern Counties School is attended by 4 to 19 year olds with a wide range of disabilities including profound and multiple learning difficulties, Cerebral Palsy and Autism.

Mr Pattinson funded the minibus – officially known as a Variety Sunshine Coach – on behalf of Variety, the Children’s Charity, which is dedicated to improving the lives of young people who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged.

Jo Allen, Head of School at Northern Counties said:

“Our pupils and staff appreciate the donation of a new minibus and are grateful for the continued opportunities it will help to provide to our students.

Our students really benefit from regular access to learning and recreational facilities outside of their day-to-day school environment. It develops different skills and helps them become independent learners. We would like to thank Variety and Bobby Pattinson for their generous donation.

The brand-new Sunshine Coach will replace one of the school’s existing minibuses, which has been used for over 10 years to transport students to events and activities.

Our existing fleet of buses serve us well but it’s an ideal time to retire one of the older, long-serving buses”

Northern Counties School is part of the Hedley Foundation, a registered charity that works to help meet the needs of disabled children, young people and adults with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

Ray Crawford, Variety Northern Chairman, said:

“We are very grateful for the generosity of Bobby Pattinson. Variety Sunshine Coaches enable children and young people with special needs to get the most out of school life by accessing learning and recreational facilities outside of the school environment.”